JSU Receives Check and Praise From FEMA for Tornado Recovery


Brett Howard of Alabama EMA presents JSU facilities director David Thompson with a check. Photo by Matt Reynolds.

The first FEMA check has arrived. Ever since the March 19 tornado struck campus, JSU has been aggressively working to fully recover and rebuild. This week, a FEMA Public Assistance grant totaling over $755,000 was awarded to the State of Alabama for debris removal at JSU.

JSU was the first eligible applicant to conduct a scoping meeting with FEMA and Alabama EMA, when an inventory of damages and a schedule for site inspections was developed.

“The JSU staff was very well prepared and provided all required and supporting documentation,” said Brett Howard, Alabama’s state coordinating officer. “This has enabled the state and FEMA to move the project toward funding approvals within a matter of days.”

The funds will be used to pay for the first phase of debris removal that took place following the storm, when workers collected all tree debris across campus and moved it to strategic temporary sites on campus (including stump grinding and removal).

“The State of Alabama is extremely grateful for the quick turnaround of this grant request,” said Brian E. Hastings, director of Alabama EMA and the governor’s authorized representative for the disaster. “Local economies play a significant role in a community’s recovery from a disaster. By continuing to partner efficiently and effectively to get JSU fully operational, we will minimize the reduction in economic impact to the region and support the local community’s long-term recovery.”

Thomas J. McCool, the federal coordinating officer for this disaster, said, “This is a textbook example how FEMA’s Public Assistance process should work. Applicants who have the necessary documentation for work that has been completed should certainly expect quicker turnarounds on reimbursements. Documentation is key to our Public Assistance delivery process.”